Central graduate starts literary resource to uplift BIPOC authors

Daisy Friedman, Editor in Chief

Omaha Central graduate, Ashlynn Duval, is gearing up to start her new online bookstore, The Stove is Hot. The Stove is Hot is a literary resource that supports allies and BIPOC community members through conversations about race, gender, and equality without causing harm. She said that the idea for The Stove is Hot came from her experience working at a religious, education-based, non-profit organization. 


“The narrative of girls and women are still often left behind, Duval said. “Even though most teachers are women, you don’t ever hear a lot about what women say.” 


She said she had always loved to read. As she got older, she realized how long it took her to find books written by black women, indigenous women, or books from a queer perspective. She wants to make those books more accessible by creating a resource for people to buy them.  


“I always give people book recommendations, so I figured it would make sense to sell them the book and do with the profit what I see fit,” Duval said. “A certain portion of my sales will go towards a different non-profit organization every month. 


There’s also a podcast to go along with the bookstore. Duval’s first interview was with Dominique Morgan, the director of Black and Pink, an organization to help black and brown queer people in jail. The Stove is Hot will be working with Black and Pink to send books to incarcerated individuals and give to their bail funds.  She said her intention with the business is to use the profits to benefit other organizations 


Duval said that there’s a large need for this kind of a business in Omaha because of the deep segregation.  


“I went to Central, and I don’t know if I ever read a book written by a black person as an assigned reading,” Duval said. “Even in a school as diverse as Central, you’re not reading books by people like Octavia Butler or James Baldwin. If you can read Of Mice and Men in school, then you can read The Bluest Eye.” 


She said the goal is to direct this business toward high school students, teachers, and administrators so they start to understand the perspectives of many different communities and begin to have the tough conversations that may not be had during school hours.  


“I hope people realize there are so many perspectives that exist, and there are so many narratives that exist that aren’t the white narrative,” Duval said. “You get that perspective over and over again, and it makes white people unable to be self-aware. I hope people can come in and understand all the different perspectives that exist.”